My family went on vacation this summer and we were deciding between Gatlinburg, NYC, Chicago, and Nashville. Nashville ended up winning up thanks to a combo of great food, lower prices, and live music.
We spent just four days here, so like my other “little guides” this little guide to Nashville, is one I would share with a friend not write for BBC Travel section. I don’t know the city through and through of course, but I do a lot of research ahead of time and want to share what we narrowed it down to do as the top things to do in Nashville for a long weekend.
My Little Guide to Nashville
So, the main strip in Nashville in Broadway and you could spend your whole time here if you wanted to. Just bar hoppin’, listening to up and coming Country superstars play at every bar, and eating great food.
I think I found the sign that explains Hippie in Heels quite well haha!
Every bar has live music and it’s customary to tip when they walk around with the bucket. Aint nothin’ free!
Top Things to do in Nashville
There are so many things to do in Nashville and it can seem overwhelming but you really have to narrow it down to your interests. While you do want to spend some time on Broadway, it’s very crowded with drunk people and bachelorette parties on the weekend and for a family vacation is good to add in the “top things to do in Nashville” according to TripAdvisor-type-stuff.
So, without further ado, here are those top things!
I’m starting with Opryland Hotel which isn’t that exciting to be fair, but is a huge attraction in Nashville and a lot of people hit it up before heading to the Grand Ole Opry which I’ll tell you about later.
Gaylord Opryland Hotel has dozens of restaurants, shops, and botanical garden inside. It’s not my favorite thing we did but it was nice to walk around and see. If you had to scratch something off your list, this could be it.
You’ll want to park at the mall near the movie theatre. From there you can walk to both the hotel and the Grand Ole Opry. If you park at the hotel it’s $20 bucks (I think, it could be a bit more).
The Opryland hotel is a convention center and they offer different exhibitions of sorts. While we were there it was the Jungle Book which I loved. I got so lucky with this – it was the Jungle Book special at Disney Animal Kingdom when I went too!
Grand Ole Opry
This is the #1 thing to do in Nashville and is a do not miss. You HAVE to go here. It was the best thing I did in Nashville! The Opryland hotel is just next to it, that’s why I mentioned these together.
There are a mix of new singers and older famous ones as well as the hosts who are Country stars that have been around a long time. You might not recognize any names, but chances are you’ll recognize at least one song. If you’re lucky, you’ll be here at a time someone really famous is playing as the top stars play here all the time.
We got to see Jimmy Wayne whose name I didn’t recognize. He made a joke that we’ve probably heard him on the radio over the 10 years and I was shocked when he started singing “I Love You This Much” which is one of my favorite country songs.
I also enjoyed host Jeanni Sealy who was hilarious and the O’Connor band. Sunny Sweeney was good too, and is kind of like a Carrie Underwood and I can see her getting famous one day! The show is two hours and it’s about $60 for a ticket depending on where you sit.
The Ryman used to be the Opry and it has a huge amount of history behind it. If you love your Country music and Nashville then check it out. If not, give it a skip. I don’t want to offend but I found it pretty boring even if it is a city icon.
This was built as an art exhibition but then they decided to keep it. It’s a full size replica and is built identical. You could check it out especially if you haven’t been to Greece before. It is a bit random I have to admit.
Country Music Hall of Fame
This was pretty cool. I took Ben to the Roll and Roll Hall of Fame last year, which was more up his alley but I do love country music. Plus, you’d be surprised what is country: Bob Dylan for example.
I did this pretty quick (less than an hour) then went with Ben to a bar down on Broadway (a two-minute walk) while my parents and bro/his wife took their time walking through the museum.
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
I LOVED these gardens and the museum inside that had really amazing art. I am writing an article about it so you can see more about this specific place, coming soon!
- Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Nashville
Things to do in Nashville that we DIDN’T do
- Johnny Cash Museum
- Belle Meade Plantation
- The Hermitage
- Science Center
- Belmont Mansion
There are more things to do but the reality is you’ll want to spend time drinking, eating, and chilling on Broadway. You can’t fit it all. After the Hall of Fame, we thought Johnny Cash Museum seemed like a lot. Cheekwood offered a mansion, art, and botanical gardens so it beat out all the other homes and plantations people go see.
Food in Nashville
It’s pretty damn good everywhere you go. I wrote another article about my favorite places that we tried since it would make this article a little too long.
Packing for Nashville
You can literally wear anything you want here. Jeans and a flannel shirt, a cute dress with cowboy boots, or South Charm super fancy.
I mixed it up and it was random stuff, so not worth writing a whole post about. I do want to mention the necklace I wore and have been wearing ever since: this airplane necklace! How cute is that? It’s from Charmed Traveler and they make lots of travel related jewelry. I love getting Etsy travel things!
Nashville has a big selection of distilleries and breweries. We stopped at Prichard’s which is just outside of town. My brother had been here before and recommended it. He bought a whole case of their famous whiskey! They offer tours and sampling.
Where to Stay in Nashville
We stayed at the Hutton Hotel which was fantastic and offered free rides within 3 miles and free pick ups back to the hotel. It is dog-friendly, has a complimentary wine hour, and is super cute. You can see a full review here.
Getting Around Nashville
We drove down from Ohio. Parking garages are not cheap. Some are daily rates and others charge you if you take the car out of the garage each time. Since it’s a cost to park elsewhere when you go to dinner, etc, sometimes Ubers are the way to go.
Our hotel had a shuttle and they aren’t the only one. Make sure to check on that before you book.
Uber and Lyft are both here and they are great apps to download. A 10 minute card was about $6. Not bad! Broadway is a place you can walk around all day so you can have them drop you at Broadway and 5th and you can walk to the Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash, and more from here.
Want more info? Check out this guide and Camels and Chocolate blog, a travel blogger who lives there.
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People are always shocked when I tell them that I love country music and dream of going to Nashville one day! haha! I’m going to have to bookmark this post so I can put it to good use one day :D The Hutton Hotel looks great!
Country music is soo easy to love.. even my British boyfriend admits now there are some songs he likes :p
Haha yep definitely easy to love… I’ve got my country playlist on right now! lol
I love your post! I haven’t been to Nashville since I was in high school, but now that I have kids of my own, I’ve really wanted to take them back. We passed through Memphis earlier this summer and visited Graceland as sort of a teaser (chuckle).
It seems like Nashville is really hitting it’s stride lately as a foodie and cultural destination. I’d like to get my hands on some of that Nashville hot chicken!
Thanks for the write up and safe travels!
Yeah it’s a great place for a family vacation. I am all about food when I travel and this place doesn’t let you down!